Case study: Regional education federations (an article from SecEd)

A federation of schools and colleges in Norfolk has become the first sub-regional federation of its kind in England. Dick Palmer explains.

Imagine a world in which school and college heads were free to focus all of their energies on enhancing teaching and learning, in which there was strong sub-regional collaboration to improve outcomes for all, and where there were clear progression routes with relevant pathways for all students.

An impossible ideal in today’s increasingly competitive and ever more fragmented education marketplace? Well this is precisely what is being created here in Norfolk, thanks to a new federation: Transforming Education in Norfolk (the TEN Group).

The TEN Group is the first sub-regionally based educational federation of its kind in England, although perhaps not for long as there is strong interest from schools and colleges elsewhere in the country in adopting the Norfolk model. So how does it work?

At its heart, the federation is about bringing together a group of like-minded institutions who are committed to improving education and skills for young people in our county.

The organisations working together to further this ambition include the largest further education college in the county (City College Norwich), two academies (City Academy Norwich and Wayland Academy Norfolk), and a new University Technical College (Norfolk UTC, opening in 2014).

The new federation also has strong affiliations with the University of East Anglia and a high-performing local independent school, the Norwich School, alongside numerous employers in the region.

While the TEN federation only became a legal entity on September 1 last year, the aforementioned organisations were already collaborating closely, partly because that is how we like to work, but also because of their involvement in the sponsorship of the two academies and the UTC.

This article appears in the March edition of SecEd. SecEd is a weekly newspaper delivered free of charge to every UK secondary school and is the UK's only weekly publication that is dedicated exclusively to secondary education. Alongside their team of journalists, much of SecEd's content is authored by practising teachers, leaders and educationalists.

See the full article here.